Prince Andrew announced that he will be stepping back from his public duties on November 20. The Duke of York had an interview with the BBC that aired on November 16 about his ties to the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. Prince Andrew, 59, released a statement where he detailed his decision, which was approved by Queen Elizabeth II.
“It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support,” he said in the statement.
He continued, “Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.”
Prince Andrew also mentioned how he regrets his connection with the financier, and wants to move forward. “I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein. His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure. I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”
Since the bombshell interview aired, Prince Andrew has been highly criticized for not defending the victims of Jeffrey. He was also condemned for staying at Jeffrey's home nine years ago in December 2010, which was not long after he served 13 of 18 months of a sentence for acquiring minors for prostitution.
“It would be, to some extent, a stretch to say that as it were we were close friends,” the Duke told the BBC of his relationship with Jeffrey, whom he met in 1991. “I mean, we were friends because of other people. And I had a lot of opportunity to go to the United States, but I didn’t have much time with him,” Andrew said of his relationship with Jeffrey, adding that he would sometimes take the millionaire up on his offer to stay at his houses when he wasn’t around.”
Prince Andrew also claimed he had “no recollection of ever meeting” Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who alleged that she was forced to have sex with the Duke of York three times between 1999 and 2002. She claimed these meetings took place in London, New York, and on a private Caribbean island owned by Jeffrey when she was only 17 years old.
Jeffrey died on August 10 at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York. The FBI will continue their investigation of him and his associates, and it remains to be seen whether or not Prince Andrew will be asked to testify.